Over the weekend we got an e-mail update from a person we've been going back and forth with for well over a year. It was not good news. "I'm in France. I'm happier, but I still have no clue what I want to do with my life," she said.
Originally, back in early 2011, she reached out to us because she was interested in figuring out where she wanted to take her life. Unfulfilled, she was intrigued by the idea of making some big changes and getting on track. She was also eager to get some world travel under her belt. She got in touch with us for tips.
One thing we told her right away is that traveling – and any other external activity – is not a substitute for the hard work of getting to know yourself. Sure, travel (and a lot of other things) can help spark new ideas and new ways of thinking, but you still have to do the heavy lifting of figuring things out.
Unfortunately, we've heard stories that mirror this one many times. People are desperate for a better life but oftentimes don't know where to begin in the quest to implement meaningful and sustainable change that leads to fulfillment. We've been there.
Are you looking to feel more "in sync" in life? If so, it is important to get out of your head and into your life. So, yes, go travel, take that cooking class, go back to school, volunteer, etc.
But don't stop there and expect a miracle. The road to a maximized life is multi-pronged. We recommend that change-seekers start asking themselves the tough questions early on in the process. Begin with these thought starters. You'll probably recognize some of them.
1) What – years and years down the road – would make you feel like your life has been well lived?
2) Based on the make-up of your current life, what are you becoming?
3) In what areas of your life is it easy for you to be unattached to outcomes/results/success?
This is just a beginning. Your answers to these questions, and others, help to clear the gunk from your brain. And by "gunk" I mean the thoughts and feelings that we all know too well. The ones that leave you feeling confused, frustrated and, ultimately, paralyzed. The ones that drive many people to remain unfulfilled and to seek internal answers and validation from external sources (like friends, travel, etc.).
The best journey you can take in life, is one that helps you to know yourself better – one that leads to a life that has you feeling in sync and on purpose.
Start today. Ask yourself the tough questions.
Oh, and we aren't going to leave you hanging. Next time we address this topic, we're going to take things a step further and get into what's bolstered when you remove that gunk from your brain.